Robert W. Halli Sr., mechanical engineer

He had worked for NASA and Glenn L. Martin Co.

  • Robert W. Halli
Robert W. Halli (Baltimore Sun )
September 17, 2014|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | The Baltimore Sun

Robert W. Halli Sr., a retired mechanical engineer who worked for NASA and earlier for the old Glenn L. Martin Co. in Middle River, died Sept. 8 at Stella Maris Hospice of heart failure. He was 100.

The son of Florence Casper "Flo" Halli, a shipping clerk, and Gertrude M. Hildenbrand Halli, a homemaker, Robert William Halli Sr. was born and raised in Pittsburgh.

After graduating first in his class at Central High School, he enrolled at what was then Carnegie Institute of Technology, where he graduated in 1936 with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering.

Mr. Halli started working in 1936 at Glenn L. Martin. During his 31 years there, he worked in structural analysis and design and management.

He worked on a wide variety of aircraft, including the B-26 Martin Marauder bomber, the three China Clippers for Pan American Airways that were known as Nos. 7, 8 and 9, seaplanes and commercial airplanes.

With the dawning of the missile and space age, he worked on missiles for the Air Force and Navy and boosters for Titan 1, 2 and 3 rockets.

Mr. Halli, who had risen to chief structural design engineer, joined NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in 1967, and worked on the Nimbus Atmosphere Explorer, space shuttle payloads and other projects.

In 1977, he received the flight center's Exceptional Performance Award for making "significant contributions in the area of mechanical design over the past seven years in support of Atmospheric Explorer and Space Transportation System Programs."

He retired in 1979.

From 1952 to 1994, Mr. Halli lived in a home on Coventry Road in Wiltondale. He was a director of the Wiltondale Improvement Association from 1958 to 1960 and was secretary of the group in 1961. He later served as president and chairman of the organization in the early 1960s. Since 1994, Mr. Halli had been a resident of Riderwood's Village Green neighborhood.

His first wife, the former Jean Mildred Doran, whom he married in 1936, died in 1988.

He was a communicant of Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church, Baltimore and Ware avenues, Towson, where a memorial Mass will be offered at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Mr. Halli is survived by his wife of 20 years, the former Eileen Marie Sullivan Armstrong; a son, Robert W. Halli Jr. of Northport, Ala.; a daughter, Nancy Jane Halli of Wallingford, Pa.; three stepsons, Robert S. Armstrong of Timonium, John W. Armstrong of Apex, N.C., and Richard W. Armstrong of Northborough, Mass.; two grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and nine step-grandchildren.

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